Posted on Jul 03, 2019, 11 p.m.
Prevention is better than a cure, and soon eating healthier foods may be prescribed by doctors to help prevent chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. That’s right food can be medicine.
Healthy food prescription has been found to help improve health, which could be more economical over the long haul. Medicare and Medicaid are covering the costs of these healthy food prescription within the USA, health insurance groups used data provided by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys for the computer simulation for sample representatives.
In this study published in PLOS Medicine, 2 scenarios were studied: 30% coverage of fruits and vegetables, and the other covered the same amount but for a wider variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, seafood, whole grains, and plant based oil purchases.
1.93 million cardiovascular disease were deduced to have been avoided by following the fruit and vegetable incentive, while 3.28 million cases of cardiovascular disease were avoided by following the broader diet.
The healthy food prescription initiative also prevented 120,000 cases of diabetes, not only did it reduce the number of diagnosed patients it also affected healthcare utilization by amassing a total of $140 billion in preventative savings.
Based on these findings subsidizing and prescribing a healthy food prescription initiative to use food as medicine to prevent diseases would be cost effective. Prevention is always better than a cure, spending money on healthy foods would be far better and cheaper than paying for hospital bills and medication.
"We found that encouraging people to eat healthy foods in Medicare and Medicaid — healthy food prescriptions — could be as or more cost effective as other common interventions, such as preventative drug treatments for hypertension or high cholesterol," stated first author Yujin Lee.
The 2018 Farm Bill includes the Produce Prescription Program which is dedicating $25 million into evaluating benefits gained from this prescription. Additionally California will provide $6 million to study meals tailored to a patient’s diagnosis.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.